The international structure of accreditation and its main aspects:
- Harmonisation of accreditations in technical committees
- Evaluation of accreditation bodies for the purpose of international acknowledgement
- Mutual recognition
Multilateral Agreements (MLA):
- Agreements between accreditation bodies for reciprocal acceptation of their accreditations
- Becoming increasingly important in the not legally regulated areas
- Often important precondition for the reduction of technical trade barriers in the legally regulated areas
According to the Ordinance on the Swiss Accreditation System and the Notification, the SAS maintains the Swiss interests in view of foreign and international bodies, which deal with the competence of accreditation, testing or conformity assessment bodies.
The SAS is a member of the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA), the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).
The goal of these organizations is the European and international recognition of accreditation and therefore of the evaluation reports and conformity certificates of the accreditation bodies. Precondition for this is a common understanding as well as a far-reaching harmonization of the interpretation of all relevant standards. For this purpose, EA, ILAC and IAF have constituted several working groups, which will, as joint venture, together with the relevant organizations of testing and conformity assessment bodies, economy and consumers, deal with the interpretation and application of standard requirements.
The results of these projects are mainly guides, which serve to support the individual accreditation bodies as well as bodies interested in an accreditation.
The SAS represents in these international organizations the swiss interests and provides a demanding contribution as one of the national accreditation bodies, which added to a wide recognition of the Swiss conformity assessment system on the technical-scientific level.
The central contents of the MLA:
- Each signatory recognizes the bodies accredited by the remaining signatories, as if he had accredited them himself.
- Each signatory actively supports the recognition of all bodies accredited by the remaining signatories by industry and authorities in his own country.
- Each signatory is re-evaluated every 4 years by the remaining signatories.